The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays

By Esmé Weijun Wang

Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award

An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.

Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

By Pam Houston. The author of Contents May Have Shifted draws on her travels and homestead life in the Colorado Rockies in an essay collection on her ties to nature that explores the symbiotic relationship between humans and the earth.

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

By Dani Shapiro. The author of distinguished fiction but perhaps best known for her memoirs (most recently Hourglass), Shapiro surprises us again with her latest meditation. In a goofy mood in spring 2016, she submitted her DNA to a website for analysis and discovered that her father was not her biological father. What results is an exploration of family secrets, a painful rebuilding of her sense of self, and an understanding of how we manage whatever life tosses our way.

Churchill: Walking With Destiny

By Andrew Roberts. The best-selling author of The Storm of War draws on extensive new materials, from private letters to war cabinet meetings, in a revisionist portrait of the iconic war leader that discusses Churchill’s motivations and unwavering faith in the British Empire.

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The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

By Maxwell King. Fred Rogers (1928–2003) was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. As the creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was a champion of compassion, equality, and kindness. Rogers was fiercely devoted to children and to taking their fears, concerns, and questions about the world seriously.

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

By Condoleezza Rice.

From the former secretary of state and bestselling author — a sweeping look at the global struggle for democracy and why America must continue to support the cause of human freedom.

“This heartfelt and at times very moving book shows why democracy proponents are so committed to their work…Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed.” —The New York Times
From the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the ongoing struggle for human rights in the Middle East, Condoleezza Rice has served on the front lines of history. As a child, she was an eyewitness to a third awakening of freedom, when her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, became the epicenter of the civil rights movement for black Americans.

In this book, Rice explains what these epochal events teach us about democracy. At a time when people around the world are wondering whether democracy is in decline, Rice shares insights from her experiences as a policymaker, scholar, and citizen, in order to put democracy’s challenges into perspective.

When the United States was founded, it was the only attempt at self-government in the world. Today more than half of all countries qualify as democracies, and in the long run that number will continue to grow. Yet nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Using America’s long struggle as a template, Rice draws lessons for democracy around the world — from Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, to Kenya, Colombia, and the Middle East. She finds that no transitions to democracy are the same because every country starts in a different place. Pathways diverge and sometimes circle backward. Time frames for success vary dramatically, and countries often suffer false starts before getting it right. But, Rice argues, that does not mean they should not try. While the ideal conditions for democracy are well known in academia, they never exist in the real world. The question is not how to create perfect circumstances but how to move forward under difficult ones.

These same insights apply in overcoming the challenges faced by governments today. The pursuit of democracy is a continuing struggle shared by people around the world, whether they are opposing authoritarian regimes, establishing new democratic institutions, or reforming mature democracies to better live up to their ideals. The work of securing it is never finished.

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

By Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin. A man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he did not commit describes how he became a victim of a flawed legal system, recounting the years he shared with fellow inmates who were eventually executed before his exoneration.

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The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table with my Heroes

By Rick Bass. A transformative journey written in gratitude to the award-winning author’s mentors describes his midlife attempt to recapture the passions of his youth, an effort marked by encounters with famous contemporaries and a variety of colorful mishaps.

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Life After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings

By Michelle Knight. A memoir about healing and resilience shares insights into the decade the author spent as a captive as well as the resolve that has led her to become a volunteer and advocate for changes to prevent her experiences from happening to others.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis

By J. D. Vance. Shares the story of the author’s family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the collective demons of the past. Reprint. AB. K. LJ. PW.

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